We unveiled our 21st annual Top 100 Prospects list last week, prompting several questions about how close various players were to making it. I'll delve into a couple of those in a moment.
The first step in our Top 100 process is for BA's editors to compile their personal rankings of the 150 best prospects, then combine them all on a spreadsheet and let the discussion flow from there. In addition to the players who made the Top 100, another 93 prospects received votes on at least one of our six Top 150 lists. Below is an alphabetical list of all those players, along with how many ballots they appeared on and their highest ranking.
Ten players who didn't crack the Top 100 did get mentioned on all six ballots: Rangers outfielder Engel Beltre, Royals righthander Aaron Crow, Padres outfielder Reymond Fuentes, Reds catcher Yasmani Grandal, Mets righthander Matt Harvey, Giants outfielder Francisco Peguero, Reds outfielder Yorman Rodriguez, Dodgers outfielder/first baseman Jerry Sands, Blue Jays righthander Zach Stewart and Angels righthander Jordan Walden. The five highest individual rankings on any single ballot belong to Astros outfielder/second baseman Delino DeShields Jr. (No. 54), Diamondbacks shortstop Chris Owings (No. 55), Rockies lefthander Christian Friedrich (No. 58), Phillies righthander Trevor May (No. 58) and Marlins lefthander Chad James (No. 62).
|Player, Pos, Team||Top 150s||Peak|
|Jason Adam, rhp, Royals||2||116|
|Oswaldo Arcia, of, Twins||1||140|
|J.P. Arencibia, c, Blue Jays||5||94|
|Xavier Avery, of, Orioles||1||149|
|Brandon Beachy, rhp, Braves||4||103|
|Engel Beltre, of, Rangers||6||109|
|Jesse Biddle, lhp, Phillies||2||119|
|Rex Brothers, lhp, Rockies||4||103|
|Gary Brown, of, Giants||4||96|
|Chris Carpenter, rhp, Cubs||1||124|
|Michael Choice, of, Athletics||5||76|
|A.J. Cole, rhp, Nationals||4||100|
|Tim Collins, lhp, Royals||1||144|
|Alex Colome, rhp, Rays||2||116|
|Hank Conger, c, Angels||5||85|
|Kaleb Cowart, 3b, Angels||5||104|
|Zack Cozart, ss, Reds||1||111|
|Aaron Crow, rhp, Royals||6||80|
|Jaff Decker, of, Padres||4||100|
|Delino DeShields Jr., of/2b, Astros||5||54|
|Rafael Dolis, rhp, Cubs||1||147|
|Felix Doubront, lhp, Red Sox||2||123|
|Brett Eibner, of, Royals||5||115|
|Robbie Erlin, lhp, Rangers||5||83|
|Eduardo Escobar, ss, White Sox||1||139|
|Daniel Fields, of, Tigers||1||129|
|Mike Foltynewicz, rhp, Astros||1||131|
|Todd Frazier, of/3b/1b, Reds||3||97|
|Christian Friedrich, lhp, Rockies||5||58|
|Reymond Fuentes, of, Padres||6||104|
|Anthony Gose, of, Blue Jays||5||84|
|Yasmani Grandal, c, Reds||6||82|
|Matt Harvey, rhp, Mets||6||66|
|Reese Havens, 2b, Mets||1||104|
|Slade Heathcott, of, Yankees||2||133|
|Liam Hendriks, rhp, Twins||1||120|
|Luis Heredia, rhp, Pirates||1||125|
|Chad James, lhp, Marlins||5||62|
|Jiwan James, of, Phillies||3||112|
|Kenley Jansen, rhp, Dodgers||2||132|
|Jeremy Jeffress, rhp, Royals||4||104|
|Tyrell Jenkins, rhp, Cardinals||3||121|
|Michael Kirkman, lhp, Rangers||2||137|
|Jason Knapp, rhp, Indians||5||92|
|Marc Krauss, of, Diamondbacks||1||98|
|Matt Lipka, ss, Braves||5||70|
|Cory Luebke, lhp, Padres||3||125|
|Jhan Marinez, rhp, Marlins||1||150|
|Starling Marte, of, Pirates||5||102|
|Ethan Martin, rhp, Dodgers||1||130|
|Carlos Martinez, rhp, Cardinals||4||93|
|Fabio Martinez, rhp, Angels||1||149|
|Francisco Martinez, 3b, Tigers||1||126|
|Trevor May, rhp, Phillies||5||58|
|Jared Mitchell, of, White Sox||4||77|
|Bryan Morris, rhp, Pirates||2||131|
|Kirk Nieuwenhuis, of, Mets||2||116|
|Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2b/ss, Twins||4||90|
|Hector Noesi, rhp, Yankees||4||92|
|Eduardo Nunez, ss/3b, Yankees||4||109|
|Chris Owings, ss, Diamondbacks||3||55|
|Kyle Parker, of, Rockies||1||137|
|Francisco Peguero, of, Giants||6||109|
|Carlos Perez, c, Blue Jays||2||121|
|Guillermo Pimentel, of, Mariners||3||124|
|Josh Reddick, of, Red Sox||2||117|
|Ben Revere, of, Twins||5||85|
|Garrett Richards, rhp, Angels||1||148|
|Trayvon Robinson, of, Dodgers||4||96|
|Mauricio Robles, lhp, Mariners||2||119|
|Yorman Rodriguez, of, Reds||6||92|
|Mark Rogers, rhp, Brewers||5||83|
|Tyson Ross, rhp, Athletics||1||131|
|Adrian Salcedo, rhp, Twins||1||132|
|Jerry Sands, of/1b, Dodgers||6||83|
|Domingo Santana, of, Phillies||1||129|
|Max Stassi, c, Athletics||1||138|
|Zach Stewart, rhp, Blue Jays||6||74|
|Matt Szczur, of, Cubs||2||117|
|Peter Tago, rhp, Rockies||2||127|
|Alex Torres, lhp, Rays||5||90|
|Sebastian Valle, c, Phillies||4||65|
|Yordano Ventura, rhp, Royals||2||117|
|Dayan Viciedo, 1b/3b, White Sox||4||91|
|Josh Vitters, 3b, Cubs||5||95|
|Jordan Walden, rhp, Angels||6||76|
|Taijuan Walker, rhp, Mariners||3||80|
|Allen Webster, rhp, Dodgers||4||86|
|Nick Weglarz, of, Indians||5||84|
|Alex Wimmers, rhp, Twins||5||107|
|Chris Withrow, rhp, Dodgers||5||83|
|Asher Wojciechowski, rhp, Blue Jays||3||135|
|Christian Yelich, of, Marlins||5||87|
Michael originally proposed this question via my Twitter account (@jimcallisBA), and his query drew follow-ups such as how New York would stack up if Jesus Montero weren't considered a catcher and how the Reds compare to the Blue Jays and Yankees. Let's tackle all three.
New York has the best group of catching prospects in baseball. Montero (No. 3) and Gary Sanchez (No. 30) are the two highest-ranked catchers on our Top 100 Prospects list, and Austin Romine also checks in at No. 98. J.R. Murphy has an interesting bat though he probably will have to move from behind the plate, and Kyle Higashioka offers promising power and arm strength.
I like that collection of catchers a little more than Toronto's. The Blue Jays contingent is led by Travis d'Arnaud (No. 36 on the Top 100), J.P. Arencibia (the Triple-A Pacific Coast League MVP last year) and Carlos Perez (the top prospect in the short-season New York-Penn League in 2010). A.J. Jimenez and Brian Jeroloman are decent sleepers, too.
Even without Montero, who probably won't be a long-term big league catcher, I'd still give a slight edge to the Yankees. Sanchez and d'Arnaud are comparable prospects, and while I'm not a big fan of Romine, I prefer him to Arencibia. If Perez continues to develop, he could tilt the scale in favor of the Blue Jays.
The Reds have an impressive catching tandem in Devin Mesoraco (No. 64) and Yasmani Grandal (the 12th overall pick in the 2010 draft and a near-miss for the Top 100), but their depth behind those two doesn't compare to that of the Yankees or Blue Jays. Three other teams that are well-stocked with catchers are the Rockies (Wilin Rosario, Will Swanner, Jordan Pacheco, Michael McKenry), Rays (Justin O'Conner, Robinson Chirinos, Luke Bailey, Steven Vogt, Jake DePew, Nevin Ashley) and Athletics (Max Stassi, Josh Donaldson, Ryan Ortiz).
If the Nationals had kept Bryce Harper behind the plate, they'd have the best catching prospects in the game. As it is, they still have a pair of Top 100 Prospect backstops in Derek Norris (No. 72) and Wilson Ramos (No. 96).
I considered Knapp for that list, but I wanted to limit myself to a half-dozen prospects and do have some reservations about his health. He has pitched just 40 innings since the Indians acquired him in the Lee deal in July 2009. He had arthroscopic shoulder surgery after the 2009 season and didn't return to the mound until last July.
No question, if healthy, Knapp could rocket up next year's Top 100. He has a mid-90s fastball and a plus curveball. At the same time, he is still raw, needs more consistency and command, and has to prove he can hold up over a full season. He's just 21 and his career could go in several directions. If everything comes together, he could be a frontline starter. It's also possible that he could be best suited for the bullpen in the long run.
Neither Borchering nor Perez received a single vote on any of our six personal Top 150 lists, but both are young prospects who could easily make next year's Top 100 Prospects if they show more polish. I do expect that both will spend most, if not all, of this season in high Class A.
The 16th overall pick in the 2009 draft, Borchering has impressive raw power but needs to smooth out the rest of his game. He did a better job of recognizing pitches and using the entire field toward the end of his first full pro season, though he may not be able to stick at third base.
Perez also got off to a slow start and finished strong in 2010. He won't hit for much power, but he should produce for average and steal plenty of bases with his well above-average speed. He also should develop into a good center fielder.